Yesterday in Vegas, The FSTA & More, I regaled everyone with my wondrous stories of my recent trip to Vegas – and boy were they good ones if you missed it. Today, I’ll return to more standard fare in breaking down the team that I drafted at the event. In PART III of the series, I’ll give my thoughts on how the draft went overall by highlighting other teams selections.
13-Team Mixed League
23 starters: 14 hitters (C,C,1B,2B,3B,SS,MI,CI,5 OFs, UT), 9 pitchers
I had the 10th overall selection.
Here’s my team (# in parenthesis is round taken).
C: Yadier Molina (9), Ryan Doumit (17)
1B: Carlos Pena (15), Derrek Lee (22)
2B: Dustin Pedroia (2), Brandon Phillips (5)
3B: Evan Longoria (1), Mat Gamel (25), Ian Stewart (28)
SS: Yunel Escobar (13)
OF: Matt Holliday (3), Michael Bourn (4), Shane Victorino (6), Martin Prado (12), Chris Heisey (19), Matt Joyce (20), Franklin Gutierrez (27)
P: Ricky Romero (7), C.J. Wilson (8), Brandon Morrow (10), Wandy Rodriguez (11), Sergio Santos (14), Chris Perez (16), Roy Oswalt (18), Scott Baker (21), Tim Stauffer (23), Tyler Clippard (24), Javy Guerra (26), Brandon Lyon (29)
Let me explain a few things.
There is no trading in this league (I guess they don’t trust “experts.” Honestly, non-trading leagues are often better because they eliminate someone making a nonsensical trade). There is the draft and then the FAAB process to add free agents, but there is no way to bolster a squad through trading.
This draft is held so early, I mean they haven’t even showed up to camp yet, not to mention that Carlos Pena wasn’t on a team when I drafted and Derrek Lee is still without a squad, that there is certainly some guesswork/luck that goes into the shape of the roster (another example is that I drafted Heisey and literally 10 minutes later news broke that the Reds had signed Ryan Ludwick). This is pointed out, specifically, when you look at the relievers on my squad. Santos and Perez are seemingly locked into their roles as closer, but Guerra has to deal with Kenley Jansen, and it’s unknown if Lyon will be healthy enough to even start the year, let alone if he will be the closer. Still, given the high cost that it will take to snag closers when we open up the FAAB process in two months, I figured it made the most chance to take a shot on a couple of guys late, an if they don’t end up closing I’ll just hit the waiver-wire early in the year.
This league has middle infield and corner infield starters. That’s why I took both Pedroia and Phillips. It might seem odd to take two upper echelon second sackers, but my team will be uber strong up the middle unless things go horrible wrong whereas other teams will be scrambling with guys like Sean Rodriguez and Cliff Pennington as their starters at middle infield.
I decided to roster two third sackers that have potential, but serious questions, late. If either Gamel or Stewart hits, I’ll be happy as all get out. Will both or either hit? Ask me in six months. The selections will look genius, or more likely, dumb at the end of the year.
Doumit in the 17th round was a solid move IF he gets those elusive 400 at-bats, which certainly seems possible if he sees time at C, 1B, DH and OF. Do you trust Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to stay healthy in Minnesota? I don’t.
I’ve never waited this long to take a first baseman, ever. Pena in the 15th round is solid value, the homers and run production should be there for the Rays’ first baseman, but that average is gonna kill me. Hopefully guys like Pedroia, Prado and Holliday will help to offset Pena’s sickly batting average mark.
In opposition to my wait on first baseman, I went earlier than I normally do on the hill. Why? It’s where the value was (you have to be able to roll with the draft). I ended up taking three lefties in my top four selections (not on purpose). Romero, Wilson, and Rodriguez all have 175 Ks arms while righty Morrow has a 200+ arm, and though their ratios my not be great they certainly are a strong top-4 that could be huge if they all produce like their talents dictate. Oswalt/Baker/Stauffer all have questions, that’s why they were available for me to draft late, but again, I like the arms. My bullpen is admittedly thin. I love Santos and what he did last year, and he should be able to do the same thing this year with the Blue Jays. Perez makes me nervous. Too many walks an a declining strikeout rate obviously scared everyone else too which is why Perez lasted so long. Still, the Indians have faith in him, and I need an arm that was a “lock” to open the year in the role. Guerra and Lyon could give me 40 saves, or five. We’ll just have to see.
Overall I’m happy with the squad. I’ve got aces at second, third and the outfield. I think I’ve got a solid duo behind the dish. The starters, while lacking an elite arm, pack a ton of potential. I’ve got pop at the corners, the leagues best speed demon in the outfield (Bourn), and a series of players who should help to produce across the board. Once more unto the breach…
By Ray Flowers